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Venture Richmond teams up with city for “Picnic in a Parklet” program to assist businesses during reopening phases

“We acknowledge the difficulty Richmond businesses face when trying to safely reopen and want to do what we can to make that easier on them,” said Max Hepp-Buchanan, Director of Riverfront and Downtown Placemaking for Venture Richmond. “Parklets have the potential to offer an attractive, comfortable space for customers to physically-distance adjacent to the business, which may be needed for a smoother reopening. We look forward to working with any business in the city that submits a request.”

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Venture Richmond has announced a new initiative, “Picnic in a Parklet,” a program designed to assist Richmond restaurants and other businesses with Phase 2 and 3 of Forward Virginia. Through this new partnership with the City of Richmond, business owners can receive design and permitting assistance for their requests for more outdoor space, particularly parklets.

Parklets are outdoor patio spaces constructed in the on-street parking lane of the street in front of a business that can function as an area for customers to gather and/or take to-go orders and eat outside in a physically-distanced environment. Parklets are, by definition, public space; but, restaurants can offer lightly packaged to-go orders for people who simply want to dine in the parklet in front of the restaurant.

“Transforming our use of public space innovatively and sustainably requires partnerships just like this one,” said Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney. “By linking the business and design communities, this program will expand the city’s growing network of creatively designed public spaces.”

Business-owners who are interested in temporarily converting an on-street parking space adjacent to their storefront into a parklet will be connected with Venture Richmond to better assess their needs. If a parklet will be helpful and appropriate, Venture Richmond will work with the American Institute of Architects Richmond Chapter (AIA Richmond) to connect businesses with a certified architect for pro-bono parklet design services. Venture Richmond will assist the applicant through the steps needed to obtain a permit from the City of Richmond.

“We acknowledge the difficulty Richmond businesses face when trying to safely reopen and want to do what we can to make that easier on them,” said Max Hepp-Buchanan, Director of Riverfront and Downtown Placemaking for Venture Richmond. “Parklets have the potential to offer an attractive, comfortable space for customers to physically-distance adjacent to the business, which may be needed for a smoother reopening. We look forward to working with any business in the city that submits a request.”

Unless otherwise specified or revoked, parklet permits are valid for three years. All requests within Richmond City limits will be considered.

Requests for parklets can be submitted through the RVA Strong website. General information about parklets can be found here, and more information about the City of Richmond’s Parklet Program can be found here.

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Stella’s Grocery opening new location in former Starbucks storefront at Libbie and Grove

This will be the fourth location for the local market chain owned by restaurateurs Katrina and Johnny Giavos.

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From Richmond BizSense:

Stella’s Grocery, the local chain of neighborhood markets run by restaurateurs Katrina and Johnny Giavos, has scooped up a space on Grove Avenue, extending the brand’s reach into the West End.

The company recently inked a lease for a new location at 5802 Grove Ave., which had been home to Starbucks before it vacated in April.

It’ll be the fourth location for Stella’s grocery, joining its flagship store at 1007 Lafayette St. in Malvern Gardens, one downtown at 109 E. Grace St. and one in the HandCraft Building in Scott’s Addition.

Continue reading here.

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Charlottesville-based Grit Coffee opens first Richmond location at Libbie and Grove

Drawing on a love of coffee as well as cooking, Grit takes a culinary approach to roasting. As would a chef, Grit’s Director of Coffee, Travis Mason, views the quality and freshness of the ingredients as paramount.

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Amid an incredibly difficult year for the restaurant industry, Grit Coffee, the Charlottesville-based coffee shop and brand, opened its first Richmond location in the Libbie-Grove corridor this past Thursday.

In what was previously a Sweet Frog at 409 Libbie Avenue, Grit Coffee opened with options for carry-out and online ordering of coffee drinks, ground, and whole bean coffee, as well as pastries from Pearl’s Bake Shoppe. Owners say they hope to provide an approachable, relaxing environment to enjoy a good cup of coffee – especially after the nearby Starbucks on the corridor closed its doors.

Founded in 2008, Grit currently has five locations in Charlottesville, a thriving wholesale network through the state, and a coffee subscription service that has taken off since March.

Drawing on a love of coffee as well as cooking, Grit takes a culinary approach to roasting. As would a chef, Grit’s Director of Coffee, Travis Mason, views the quality and freshness of the ingredients as paramount. But equally important – and often overlooked in coffee – is the roasting, akin to how a chef might cook his ingredients to coax out the inherent and unique characteristics of each coffee.

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Ghost kitchen launches latest concept, Victory Garden, featuring creative salads with local ingredients

For Victory Garden, expect a focus on hearty, “designer” salads as the two put it, made from fresh and local ingredients. Customers can choose from several pre-designed salads, or custom-build their own salad creations.

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Victory Garden, the latest concept from Liz Clifford and Jon Martin of Dunharrow Concepts – Richmond’s first ghost kitchen – launched this month, focusing on fresh salads made with local ingredients.

Victory Garden is the third concept from the duo, previously opening Garden Party, a vegan and vegetarian concept, and Fat Kid Sandwiches, a sandwich concept featuring overstuffed and indulgent subs.

For Victory Garden, expect a focus on hearty, “designer” salads as the two put it, made from fresh and local ingredients. Customers can choose from several pre-designed salads, or custom-build their own salad creations. Victory Garden is open for deliveries Wednesday through Sunday from 5:00 – 9:00 PM.

Dunharrow Concepts is a ghost kitchen based out of Hatch Kitchen RVA, a food and beverage incubator and commercial kitchen located at Clopton Siteworks. They have partnered with UberEats, Grubhub, and local Richmond delivery service, ChopChop.

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